Posts Tagged ‘Nonviolence’


October 18, 2009

No state or individual can be secure in an insecure world. The values of nonviolence in intention, thought, and practice have grown from an option to a necessity. These values are expressed in their application between states, groups and individuals.

We are convinced that adherence to the values of nonviolence will usher in a more peaceful, civilized world order in which more effective and fair governance, respectful of human dignity and the sanctity of life itself, may become a reality.

Our cultures, our histories, and our individual lives are interconnected and our actions are interdependent. Especially today as never before, we believe, a truth lies before us: our destiny is a common destiny. That destiny will be defined by our intentions, decisions and actions today.

We are further convinced that creating a culture of peace and nonviolence, while a difficult and long process, is both necessary and noble. Affirmation of the values contained in this Charter is a vital step to ensuring the survival and development of humanity and the achievement of a world without violence.

We, Nobel Peace Laureates and Laureate Organizations,

Reaffirming our commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ;

Moved by concern for the need to end the spread of violence at all levels of society and especially the threats posed on a global scale that jeopardize the very existence of humankind;

Reaffirming that freedom of thought and expression is at the root of democracy and creativity;

Recognizing that violence manifests in many ways, such as armed conflict, military occupation, poverty, economic exploitation, environmental destruction, corruption and prejudice based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation;

Realizing that the glorification of violence as expressed through commercial entertainment can contribute to the acceptance of violence as a normal and acceptable condition;

In the knowledge that those most harmed by violence are the weakest and vulnerable;

Remembering that peace is not only the absence of violence but that it is the presence of justice and the well-being of people;

Realizing that the failure of States to sufficiently accommodate ethnic, cultural and religious diversity is at the root of much of the violence in the world;

Recognizing the urgent need to develop an alternative approach to collective security based on a system in which no country, or group of countries, relies on nuclear weapons for its security;

Being aware that the world is in need of effective global mechanisms and approaches for nonviolent conflict prevention and resolution, and that they are most successful when applied at the earliest possible moment;

Affirming that persons invested with power carry the greatest responsibility to end violence where it is occurring and to prevent violence whenever possible; Asserting that the values of nonviolence must triumph at all levels of society as well as in relations between States and peoples;

Beseech the global community to advance the following principles:

First: In an interdependent world, the prevention and cessation of armed conflict between and within States can require the collective action of the international community. The security of individual states can best be achieved by advancing global human security. This requires strengthening the implementation capacity of the UN system as well as regional cooperative organizations.

Second: To achieve a world without violence, States must abide by the rule of law and honor their legal commitments at all times.

Third: It is essential to move without further delay towards the universal and verifiable elimination of nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction. States possessing such weapons must take concrete steps towards disarmament, and a security system that does not rely on nuclear deterrence. At the same time, States must sustain their efforts to consolidate the nuclear non-proliferation regime, by taking such measures as strengthening multilateral verification, protecting nuclear material and advancing disarmament.

Fourth: To help eliminate violence in society, the production and sale of small arms and light weapons must be reduced and strictly controlled at international, regional, state and local levels. In addition there should be full and universal enforcement of International disarmament agreements, such as the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, and support for new efforts aimed at the eradication of the impact of victim-activated and indiscriminate weapons, such as cluster munitions. A comprehensive and effective Arms Trade Treaty needs to be enacted.

Fifth: Terrorism can never be justified because violence begets violence and because no acts of terror against the civilian population of any country can be carried out in the name of any cause. The struggle against terrorism cannot, however, justify violation of human rights, international humanitarian law, civilized norms, and democracy.

Sixth: Ending domestic and family violence requires unconditional respect for the equality, freedom, dignity, and rights of women, men and children by all individuals, institutions of the state, religion and civil society. Such protections must be embodied in laws and conventions at local and international levels.

Seventh: Every individual and state shares responsibility to prevent violence against children and youth, our common future and most precious gift. All have a right to quality education, effective primary health care, personal safety, social protection, full participation in society and an enabling environment that reinforces non-violence as a way of life. Peace education, promoting non-violence and emphasizing the innate human quality of compassion, must be an essential part of the curriculum of educational institutions at all levels.

Eighth: Preventing conflicts arising from the depletion of natural resources, in particolar sources of energy and water, requires States to affirmatively and, through creation of legal mechanisms and standards, provide for the protection of the environment and to encourage people to adjust their consumption on the basis of resource availability and real human needs.

Ninth: We beseech the UN and its member states to promote appreciation of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity. The golden rule of a non-violent world: Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Tenth: The principal political tools for bringing into being a non-violent world are functioning democratic institutions and dialogue based on dignity, knowledge, and compromise, conducted on the basis of balance between the interests of the parties involved, and, when appropriate, including concerns relating to the entirety of humanity and the natural environment.

Eleventh: All states, institutions and individuals must support efforts to address the inequalities in the distribution of economic resources, and resolve gross inequities which create a fertile ground for violence. The imbalance in living conditions inevitably leads to lack of opportunity and, in many cases, loss of hope.

Twelfth : Civil society, including human rights defenders, peace and environmental activists must be recognized and protected as essential to building a nonviolent world as all governments must serve the needs of their people, not the reverse. Conditions should be created to enable and encourage civil society participation, especially that of women, in political processes at the global , regional, national and local levels.

Thirteenth: In implementing the principles of this Charter we call upon all to work together towards a just, killing-free world in which everyone has the right not to be killed and responsibility not to kill others.

To address all forms of violence we encourage scientific research in the fields of human interaction and dialogue, and we invite participation from the academic, scientific and religious communities to aid us in the transition to non-violent, and non-killing societies.

Nobel Signers:

• Mairead Corrigan Maguire
• His Holiness the Dalai Lama
• Mikhail Gorbachev
• Lech Walesa
• Frederik Willem De Klerk
• Archbishop Desmond Mpilo Tutu
• Jody Williams
• Shirin Ebadi
• Mohamed ElBaradei
• John Hume
• Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo
• Betty Williams
• Muhammad Yunus
• Wangari Maathai
• International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War
• Red Cross
• International Atomic Energy Agency
• American Friends Service Committee
• International Peace Bureau

Supporters of the Charter:

• Mr. Walter Veltroni , Former Mayor of Rome
• Mr. Tadatoshi Akiba , Mayor of Hiroshima, President of Mayors for Peace
• Mr. Agazio Loiero , Governor of Calabria Region, Italy
• Prof. M. S. Swaminathan , Former President of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs, Nobel Peace Laureate Organization
• David T. Ives ,Albert Schweitzer Institute
• George Clooney, actor
• Don Cheadle , actor
• Bob Geldof, singer
• Peace People – Belfast (Northern Ireland)
• Memoria Collettiva, Association
• Basque Governement
• Hokotehi Moriori Trust, New Zealand
• World without wars and without violence
• World Center for Humanist Studies (WCHS)
• The Community (for human development), International Federation

Nonviolence in a Violent World

July 27, 2009

This is a difficult subject, I ask in my interior for inspiration to surround these words and a our understanding.

What is the problem? If I am attacked, if I am criticized, and if I am subjected to any form of aggression, how can I defend myself without violence? How can I restrain a force if I do not oppose it with a similar force? If a power wants to squash me or my group,and in addition, it defames me in the mass media, what is left for me to do to restrain the violence in some way? How can I be gentle and yet face this strong violence?
Nobody wants the violence, but as the violence is exerted over oneself, its utility is always justified. Violence that is used to restrain violence has the smell of legitimacy. We hear it said,”Nonviolence is fine when we are around civilized people, but while we have brutes in front of us, this nonviolent person should be quiet, so we can put order in this disorder”. I believe this is more or less the subject in question. How to be nonviolent in the middle of a violent world?

Violence is not something in our way of life that we can just put aside as easy as that. It is a form of social action that comes from far back in human history; it is a reaction to the fear and an environment that is quite natural and quite animal. Violence has deep roots in us and it is not something to eradicate by decree. The social organization is based on violence. Violence is monopolized by the state, and ultimately by the armies. When society enters a state of panic, the armies react. When fear seizes a person, violence also seizes them. About ourselves, we can say that we are good and pacifistic people; but if suddenly something puts what is mine in danger, something which gives me stability, if anyone enters furtively to snatch it from me, the violence emerges from the tectonic layers of my consciousness and that same violence replaces me and occupies my body and it will soon react. If what attacks me is very powerful, then I contain my violence which is transformed into resentment and hatred which will then look for its revenge. There it waits, for the culturally sheltered revenge, to satisfy itself when the opportunity appears.

Perhaps some of us who live immersed in the violent society, can say that they are free of it. Perhaps we do not practice violence. In the origins of Nonviolence, one Mr. Mahavira, a contemporary of Buddha, decided to arrive to the ultimate consequences of not practicing violence. Thus he could not walk, so as to not step on the ants that might be beneath his step, and in 30 years thus feeding himself with difficulty and without moving, he obtained illumination.

Today some Jains, who inherit the lessons of Mahavira, sweep the ground in front of where they walk, before stepping on it. In order not to exert violence in the middle of a violent system, we could not pay or receive salaries, leave all state regulations aside, and not pay taxes because with those taxes, the states arm themselves to the teeth, etc. So, we would have to isolate ourselves totally from society and surely that instead of calling us mystical, they would lock us up in their insane asylums.

The violence is everywhere. The operation, manipulation, and discrimination are also forms of violence that are accumulated in those that suffer until they physically explode. The rate of financial interest for health insurance, for education and for housing are also a form of violence. When the riots happen in the soccer fields, in China with the religious ethnic groups or the Peruvian Amazon, it surprises us because we do not see the accumulation of those other forms of violence which these populations are subjected to. The opposite side is always the violent one, while the side you are on is just, and obligated to use violence.

This is not easy to change, it is a belief that is ingrained. We intuit that the violence does not correspond with the human, although we suspect that it is something that is dragged from our hominid ancestors; yet we do not see a possibility of getting away from it. In addition, what would be the reason for leaving it. Like it or not, humanity has arrived here and it has not been necessary to eradicate it. It has been possible to control it, to direct the violent impulses, and a justice system has been established that can be used with a certain rationality. Some die when violence gets out of control, but we will all die someday, for one reason or another. There must be a very powerful reason in order to change this direction of the consciousness.

Sometimes that mantle of suffering and pain that covers our life is crossed by rays that illuminate spaces of liberty, of solidarity, of friendship, of love, in you; you who are very worthwhile, at times, much more than that. Sometimes a new world appears before my eyes, and I see myself and I do not recognize myself, it seems that I am not me, but happiness invades me and that makes me think that everything is not fear, everything is not suffering, everything is not violence. If only that ray that crosses me at times could widen the hole in the mantle that traps me and that traps us; if that were possible, everything would be very different. If that were possible, life would have a meaning to be lived.

We are speaking of the fundamental themes of human life. The reflection of the violence confronts us with the non-meaning of life and if my life does not have meaning and if everything ends with death, there will not be sufficient energy to attempt a human leap.

Silo, who is very important in the present formulation of this problem, initiated his message in 1969, explaining that a violent mantle has extended itself in humanity and there is no way to get away from it. The violence is in one’s own consciousness, its root is suffering and one suffers from the fear of solitude, the fear of disease and the fear of death. This fear we try to resolve through our desires, our illusions and hopes. Yet, while our desires become more disproportionate, it also greatly increases our suffering and our violence. Thus Silo initiated his teachings and later he would present the parable of the cart of desire, with its wheels called pleasure and pain and a horse called Necessity. When the cart of desire was over loaded, the horse became exhausted. Over the years, these ideas have found extensive development in a philosophy, a psychology and in a mysticism.

Fear, the nothing, and death are what give substance to violence, with that, it is done. But it is not the fear that is fundamental to the human. It is not death which gives meaning, but rather the necessity of immortality and transcendence. If the spark of immortality were kept in the depth of the human heart, like a sleeping red hot coal that needs a breath of air to be ignited, and if that breath ignited it suddenly, it would want to go out of its distant world to color the human world. If one action did not have the same effect as another, why is it that certain actions ignite the internal fire and others extinguishes it. What if the human being were the tinder in which there nests the divine spark and human action were the stone that ignited it, and if that inner fire were so intense it would illuminate all of the world I see? If everything were bathed in a fire of essence and meaning and filled me to overflowing from my feet to my head, I would never want to put it out. An act is moral because it ignites the divine spark in the interior of the being.

Nonviolence is a style of life, a search for the sacred, and the manifestation of what is truly human. It is not simply a political act, it is mainly a moral act, a search for a new human being, it is the presence of the future, it is the encounter with a being who is still not there. Nonviolence is the force that will transform the world because I will transform myself in order to not become those with whom I struggle.

Every time it is more difficult for me to explain this theme. Can I say that I am sincere. I cannot give a class, I do not know how I would act if I were placed in a situation of violence. It is not a dogma either, I cannot demand of another to act as I see fit, I can only decide my own form of action. Every day I feel obliged and pressured to take sides, to take positions that I do not like; each decision, each action is a reference for some one who is near me, and for those who observe me, my decisions are important. I cannot judge what others do, I am not sure of anything being right, nor what is better for others and for society. I look for another thing, there is something more and I want that something to express itself in my action. I do not want to exert violence, I do not want to be part of the groups that exert it and try to find a way, although I often find myself trapped in a group. I want it to be expressed in my actions as something new, something different, the best feelings. I do not want to collaborate with knowledge that leads to destruction, I want to jump over my resentment and I want that these most beautiful feelings be expressed when I am with others. I do not want to impose my truths, but I want to feel free to be able to act in agreement with them. In the situation of oppression which I live in daily, I want to find the internal freedom to act like a human being, to recognize the human being in others, and through my action to call, to make it appear, and if it is not possible to make it appear in the present, to leave the thread of an action that could be recognized in the future, an action which says that it is possible for the human to be expressed. But I cannot choose for you, just as you cannot choose for me. So just as I cannot choose for you, I also cannot judge you, but do not ask me to accompany you, do not ask that I give you a guarantee, I will take my election and I will void the power, I will improve myself so that it no longer interests me, I will surpass my desires for power, I will learn to step back and I will try for my actions to show something that still does not exist, but that will exist in the future. My action will announce the world to come, the human being of the future.

I listen carefully to the plans of The World March for Peace and Nonviolence, they are gentle, and do not resound like military drums, they are soldiers that no one will conquer, but there I recognize the echo of what has been searched for, something longed for, something that makes life worth while.

Thank you my friends,
Dario Ergas, July 18th, 2009 to The Laura Rodriguez Foundation

Letter of czech mayors and nonviolent movement to Obama

November 22, 2008

Dear President-elect Obama:

(22.11.2008) Please accept our congratulations on your victory in the United States presidential election.

We address this appeal to you due to our concern for the preservation of the democratic process in the Czech Republic and for the security of the European community.

As you know, the Bush government and the Czech government have agreed to place the military radar base of the US National Missile Defense (NMD) system on Czech territory. Two thirds of the Czech citizenry do not, in the long term, agree with the arrangement. Despite thier opposition, the Czech government has signed agreements with the United States that are due to be ratified shortly by the Parliament. The current deputieswere elected before there was any public discussion about the project, however, and the involvement of the Czech Republic in the NMD system was not on any Czech parliamentary election platform.

The plan to place elements of this system in the heart of Europe is causing tension between USA and Russia, as well as between USA and the European Union, and will lead to a new expansion of the arms race. We are concerned that due to this advanced system, Europe will become the main battlefield in a potential international conflict and that the Czech Republic would be, due to the radar, the target of a first attack. The matter is made even more sensitive by the fact that after the fall of communism in 1989, the Czech people vowed that a foreign army would never again be stationed on their territory.

We kindly ask you to reassess the attitude of the US government towards the placement of NMD elements in Europe and to put a stop to this very dangerous and unstable project. We hope that the change so strongly symbolized by your victory will turn into reality, that the new American leadership can move us all in the direction of a world without wars and violence, and that the tendency towards the escalation of arms and military aggression will be replaced instead by investment into areas that contribute to real human development.

We entreat you as the president of a country that has long symbolized democracy to respect the will of the Czech citizens, who are being deprived of their democratic rights by their own government.

Yours faithfully,

Jan Tamás, spokesperson of Non-violence Movement
Dana Feminová, spokesperson of Europe for Peace
League Mayors against radar:
Jan Neoral, Trokavec mayor
Josef ?ihák, P?íbram mayor
Jitka ?íhová, Láz mayor
Josef Hála, Jince mayor
Josef Vondrá?ek, Ro?mitál pod T?em?ínem mayor
Václav Hudec, ?títov mayor
Miroslav Leitermann, Nepomuk mayor
Ladislav Turek, Bohutín mayor
Josef Karas, Obecnice mayor
Stanislav Sláma, Drahlín mayor
Josef ?kvára, Sádek mayor
Jan Kohout, K?e?ín mayor
Ji?í Proke?, Hlubo? mayor
Radek Walter, Tochovice mayor
Václav Koubík, H?rky mayor
Lubomír Fiala , Vísky mayor
Libor ?torkán, Felbabka mayor
Josef Hrub?, Zaje?ov mayor
Ji?í Chvojka, Chaloupky mayor
Ladislav Stel?ovsk?, Podluhy mayor
Bohumír Vítek, Volenice mayor
Karel Daniel, V?evidy mayor
Karel Dra?an, Bezd?kov mayor
Daniel Synek, Sedlice mayor
Pavel Hutr, V??ín mayor
Tomá? ?í?ek, Chrást mayor
Karel Palivec, P?edmí? mayor
Stanislav Kramosil, Hvo??any mayor
Zden?k Vrbka, Bratkovice mayor
Miloslav Such?, Sko?ice mayor
Josef Stehlík, Vranovice mayor

In support
Giulietto Chiesa – EMP
Anna Curdova – deputy czech parliament

Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space
PO Box 652
Brunswick, ME 04011
(207) 443-9502 (Blog)

Non-Violence Symbol Video 03/19/08

April 19, 2008


Non-Violence Sign Spot

February 19, 2008